Sen. Bentsen collection to be sold in New Orleans Sept. 26-27

Sen. Bentsen collection

A Bill Clinton autographed photo pictures the president laughing at a podium with Lloyd Bentsen (left). New Orleans Auction Galleries image

NEW ORLEANS – A collection of political memorabilia, fine art and antiques from the estate of Lloyd and Beryl Ann “B.A.” Bentsen will be offered at New Orleans Auction Galleries, a leading regional auction company specializing in antiques and fine art, during its Sept. 26-27 Estates Auction. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The papers of the Honorable Lloyd Bentsen Jr., United States congressman (D-Texas, 1947-1955), senator (D-Texas, 1971-1993), vice-presidential nominee (1988) and secretary of the treasury (1993-1994), are conserved at the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. However, the Bentsen family retained some of his personal letters and photographs, many of which are offered in this sale. Included are signed photographs of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton. Bentsen’s prized photo, however, was of his political mentor, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn (Lot 806).

Sen. Bentsen collection

Pair of David Webb gold ear clips, 18K yellow gold, hammered finish, stamped, ‘WEBB 18K,’ 1 3/8in, total weight 62.5 grams. Provenance: the Estate of the Honorable Lloyd & Beryl Ann Bentsen. Estimate: $2,000-$4,000. New Orleans Auction Galleries image

“Lloyd and B.A. lived a fascinating life together,” says Susan D. Sarofim, CEO and owner of New Orleans Auction Galleries. “This collection not only offers a rare glimpse into the personal lives of the late senator and his wife, but also demonstrates the couple’s shared passion for improving the world around them. The sale is a wonderful opportunity to own a piece of political history.”

Sen. Bentsen collection

Lloyd Bentsen collection of political campaign buttons including McKinley, Roosevelt, Wilson, Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, Willkie, Dewey, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, with several from his campaigns as senator, president and vice-president. New Orleans Auction Galleries image

The auction also features papers and photographs from B.A. Bentsen, including a telegram from Robert Kennedy giving her advance notice that he planned to run against Johnson in 1968 and a letter from Vice President and Democratic Nominee Hubert Humphrey thanking her for her support in the election (both Lot 823).

Sen. Bentsen collection

Gustave Loiseau (French, 1865-1935), ‘Vase de Fleurs,’ 1928, oil on board,
21½ x 18¼in, framed 32½ x 29in. Provenance: Estate of the Honorable Lloyd & Beryl Ann Bentsen. Estimate: $14,000-$18,000. New Orleans Auction Galleries image

While already nationally recognized as a senator, Bentsen became a household name in 1988 when Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee for president, selected him as his running mate. That campaign provided the single moment for which he is best remembered, his blistering retort to Dan Quayle during the vice presidential debate: “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” The two-day auction will offer the evidence of that famous riposte: Bentsen’s personal autographed copy of Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage (Lot 794).

Sen. Bentsen collection

Six items of presentation glassware owned by Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, including a Steuben cocktail shaker and an Orrefors cut crystal ice bucket, will be sold as a single lot. New Orleans Auction Galleries image

The family will be donating their proceeds from the sale of the political memorabilia to charity.

For more information, contact New Orleans Auction Galleries at 504-566-1849 or


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